Back when I was a teenager (must have been in the late 70s) on one of our family camping trips we stayed at Lily Lakes. One of the days we drove over to the Mirror Lake area to do a little fishing and sightseeing. That was the first time I saw Hayden Peak although at the time I didn't know the name of the rugged mountain. I just remember my dad saying something like "look at all those cliffs... you'd have to be crazy to climb that thing". For some reason that moment stuck with me all these years.
Time to Kill
Fast forward about 30 yrs and I'm again in the Uintas this time camping with my kids. The weather was terrible early in the trip (it snowed on 8/15/09... burrr
) but cleared up that afternoon. We then went for a short hike over to Notch lake. When we got back to the truck we decided to go over to the Hayden Peak lookout for some photos. I knew my wife would want to sleep in Sunday morning so I casually mentioned that Tyler (my son) and I were thinking about climbing "that mountain" tomorrow. She said, "You two must be crazy! Just be back by noon".
We pretty much just followed the route described in the South Ridge description. The only place we strayed off was in the second cliff band on the spur ridge. We climbed the small gully on the south side of the band
. Midway through this section we decided we should have just stayed on the ridge proper and ascended one of the cracks there. The rock in the gully was tall (a couple boulders were shoulder high) with very loose gravel all around making footing sketchy
. All this above a pretty good drop off.
Everything else went as smooth as silk. I really enjoyed this hike. Lots of rock hopping with enough exposure to keep you honest. Dropping down the couloir on the west side is a no brainer. I think we descended from the ridge top to pine trees in under 10 min and didn't have to down climb the cliffs.
Here's a link to a .kml file of the route (open in Google Earth): Hayden KML File
And a short video of the hike: Hayden Peak Hike